The Los Angeles Times ran a editorial criticizing the SEIU for overreaching by complaining to the Obama administration about the California’s planned wage cuts for home health workers. Specifically, the paper takes issue with the Obama administration deciding it should use leverage to pressure California lawmakers “on behalf of a well-connected group.” The editorial calls the Obama administration’s position “unreasonable” and points out that the SEIU looks desperate for “trying to refight in Washington a battle it lost in Sacramento.” And the Times objects to the SEIU “inappropriately” joining the conference call between state and federal officials.
The Los Angeles Times also reports that the Obama administration claims it has not made a decision about whether to withhold the $6.8 billion in stimulus funding designated for California. Governor Schwarzenegger’s staff said that the administration is sending mixed signals, citing a letter they received pointing out that the proposed wage cut was against the stimulus. The Obama administration claimed the letter was sent out “inadvertently.”
The article reiterates the concerns over the SEIU’s participation in the conference call between federal and state officials. Schwarzenegger officials were troubled by the Obama administration’s invitation. Interestingly enough, no Obama administration official would speak on the record about SEIU’s role in that conference call.
According to the article, the SEIU has “myriad political ties to the Obama administration.” The union contributed $33 million to the Obama campaign and the White House political director, Patrick Gaspard, was a former executive and registered federal lobbyist for the SEIU.